“The .45ACP and Ballistics Standards – What is best for you”

“The .45ACP and Ballistics Standards – What is best for you”

© 2015 Research Solutions, Inc. (All Rights Reserved)

The preference of law enforcement department small arms is under a major overhaul.

The United States military is in the process of acquiring a new sidearm to replace the present Beretta Model 92.

The number of calibers for sidearm is ever-growing, but when the analysis is completed, even with the most modern ballistics systems and scientific tools, they are finding that the standard .45ACP is still the best load to utilize.

This is not to say that the 9mm is still not a frontrunner, but speaking from a “complete ballistics analysis” point of view, coupled with the simple logistics of manufacturing costs, the .45ACP is still the best (closely followed by the 9mm).

Granted, the 9mm has allowed more rounds in the typical sidearm, but with the staggered clip methodology, along with the stopping power of the .45ACP, there is little to compare.

The .45ACP was originally designed to stop horsemen. That is fact. However, the .45ACP round was found to be more effective, stopping power, with a single round, rather than the 9mm, where more than one round may be required to stop a hostile.

This has been well-proven in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The logic of utilizing a caliber which will require more than one round to stop a hostile makes little sense. The issue is speed versus results. With the .45ACP, the ability to utilize a single round, and to take into account having to reload faster, far out-weighs the use of a caliber that more than one round is required to stop a hostile and then still have to reload almost at the same speed of the .45ACP magazine.

The other issue is whether it be combat in Afghanistan or in a Home Protection situation, the objective is IF the need to utilize deadly force is required, you want the ability to have to stopping power of the firearm utilized.

There are countless defense rounds that are presently sold on the market, some in calibers claiming to be equal or better than calibers MUCH larger and stronger.

Much of this is based upon myth, smoke and mirrors. The ballistics information does not lie (if it follows the accepted ballistics standards reporting protocols).

The true fact is that not every caliber is designed to be used for home protection, let alone true military combat situations. The military has spent millions in establishing the accepted ballistics standards reporting protocols (ABSRP) and rarely changes them to fit their needs. Each country, especially where logistics between country-to-country requires the same caliber(s) to be used, will agree that stopping power versus extra rounds in a magazine for a sidearm not open for discussion.

The military looks at a common methodology, in that the purpose of the round is to “stop” the hostile, wound him, and require additional soldiers to assist the wounded to a safe location to be dealt with. This methodology is a matter of using up the enemy’s manpower, and reduce active battlefield personnel. It works – sometimes.

But in the present world, this methodology, even though logical, is now being replaced with munitions that are “designed” to kill, or at a minimum, severely hinder the capability of the hostile.

When dealing in a home environment, the entire focus is not to “wound” the intruder, or to attempt to negotiate or scare the intruder off. You are looking at “seconds” to make a decision of life or death.

The intruder is working with an agenda, and if that agenda is interrupted, they have to “wing it”. “Winging it” results in illogical choices, especially ones being made under pressure.

Most intruders will NOT leave when confronted or attempts to negotiate are implemented. Between the sexes, it is a “FACT” that an intruder(s) will instantly attempt to intimidate a woman rather than a man. Even more the reason that in a case where “logic” no longer applies, and emotions and self-preservation applies, that the intruder will choose to attack and continue on with their agenda. 

For this reason, the purpose of home protection is IF a situation warrants lethal force, and that is where, as an example, in a home, an intruder enters and the risk of life and safety of one’s family is at stake (without question), the use of lethal force would most likely be required.

You are not going to think about the pros or cons of using lethal force with an armed intruder, let alone if the intruder, whether armed or not, is going to commit bodily harm to you or your family. At this point, the issue of the “first” shot is going to be the most “important” shot.

This “first shot” methodology is going to determine the round (caliber) to be used.

In the end, there is no question that the first round will be the most important, and it must disable or neutralize the intruder without question.

The question you must ask is will you need to fire more than one round?

That is where the type of round and caliber will play an instrumental role in determining the outcome of the confrontation.

Even more important is if there is more than ONE intruder. Then the caliber type IS the most important factor.

It is true that many handguns boast of having large magazine capacities, but when time is of the essence (and I do mean split second timing), and your family/your life is on the line, caliber size can make the difference between surviving or disaster.

I myself, have utilized several caliber types and styles, with a plethora of protection loads, military load-outs and so-on.

In the end, I have always reverted to the .45ACP caliber.

Overseas, I have used the H&K .45 and the dependability of the caliber has been more than one-time responsible for protecting/saving my life.

I have seen the 9mm used, in combat, where it took more than 2-3 rounds to disable a hostile. That definitely makes me/others re-think the logic of larger capacity arguments.

This does not mean that you use a .44Mag as a protection load. Common sense and research will determine what you will ultimately use.

“As one man’s blue sky is another mans’ rain” the arguments over caliber size versus capacity (number of rounds) will be around forever.

However, as a long-time instructor for law enforcement and in fields of operation, I have always come home to the .45ACP.

It is interesting to note that the .40 caliber, so heavily spoken of, is now the number one trade-in within law enforcement for either 9mm or .45ACP. The “hype” of calibers must always be governed by the facts of ballistics reports and standards.

 With best regards,

 Dr. Mark D. Lurie,
CEO, Threat and Fraud Assessment


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